The Faculty of Commerce welcomes international students interested in full-degree study or those who want to study for one or two semesters while completing a degree elsewhere as semester study abroad students. Information for each of these options is presented separately below.
All international students
The International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) is the first stop for all international students (both full degree and Semester Study Abroad). The International Office Services Dictionary outlines the services on offer to help you before and during your time at UCT.
The links below provide essential information to guide you through the process of what you need to do ahead of coming to UCT.
Phone: +27 21 650 3740
International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO)
University of Cape Town
South Africa Physical Address:
International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO)
Level 3 Masingene Building
UCT Middle Campus
Semester Study Abroad students
Selecting a Course
You may register for any courses for which you have the appropriate time available and the requisite background skills and knowledge.
The academic prerequisites for all courses are included in the Commerce Faculty Handbooks.
The University of Cape Town operates on a calendar year from February to November. The year is divided into two semesters: First Semester, from February to June, and Second Semester, from July to November. Any courses marked with a suffix H or W run over both semesters and require a full year of study. Semester courses have a suffix F (first semester) or S (second semester) at the end of the course code.
It is important to note that registration for a course commits a student to participate fully in all aspects of that course; this may entail group work, projects or field trips. It is important to establish the requirements of courses you are considering if you are not certain of your ability to commit. Withdrawal from courses once group work has commenced is very disruptive to other students, and we urge you to find out as much as you can about our courses before you register. International students are required to follow the standard rules and procedures for examinations. Please consult the academic calendar, paying particular attention to term and exam periods before committing yourself to a course.
Notes can be found under each discipline to assist you in your selection.
Approval and administration
There are two levels of approval required for Semester Study Abroad students:
- Individual course approval by the course convenor, who will determine if you meet the prerequisites and a student advisor, who will establish your needs and review your academic background to select the most appropriate course and level for you.
- IAPO approval to ensure that the courses you are taking meet the requirements in terms of number of points/credits required for your degree.
From past experience with international students, the most suitable courses tend to be:
- Financial Accounting ACC1006F
- Business Acumen for Accountants ACC1015F/S
All other courses offered by the College of Accounting are not suitable for semester study abroad students. They are very technical and based on IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) or the S.A. Tax legislation as they are designed for students writing the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and other professional bodies’ professional examinations. In addition, the 2nd and 3rd year accounting courses are very dependent on preceding courses and the teaching philosophy used.
Semester study abroad (SSA) students are eligible to enrol for any of the economics courses offered at the undergraduate level, provided they meet the minimum requirements. At the first year level, ECO1010F/S and ECO1011F/S (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, respectively) are basic entry-level economics courses. In addition, we offer ECO1006F, which is a course for “non-specialists” and is designed for students not wishing to proceed any further with economics (i.e., it is a first year terminating economics course).
The second-year courses, ECO2003F (Intermediate Microeconomics), ECO2004S (Intermediate Macroeconomics), ECO2007S (Cooperation and Competition), and ECO2008S (Development Economics), focus on developing and enriching the concepts, ideas and models introduced in the first-year courses. ECO2007S is a particularly popular course among SSA students, and it involves a combination of game theory and logic.
ECO3020F (Advanced Macroeconomics and Microeconomics), ECO3024F (International Trade and Finance), ECO3009F (Natural Resource Economics), ECO3021S (Quantitative Methods in Economics), ECO3022S (Advanced Labour Economics), ECO3023S (Public Sector Economics), ECO3016 (History of Economic Thought), and ECO3025S (Applied International Trade Bargaining) are the third year courses on offer in the School of Economics. From past experience, the ECO3025S class has been popular among SSA students, as it is an interactive, research-based simulation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where the students represent assigned countries at a multilateral forum.
Please note that due to their quantitative nature, ECO3020F and ECO3021S require that students have successfully completed a first-year university-level mathematics course, which covers differential calculus, and a first-year university-level course in statistics.
Students who do not meet the pre-requisites for ECO3000-level courses can apply to the Concessions Committee in the School of Economics for exemption. Note, though, that if a concession is granted then the student bears the full risk of taking the course and no leniency will be shown.
International students are eligible to enrol for any Finance courses offered at the undergraduate level, provided they meet the minimum requirements. This usually means that a student needs a sufficient academic background to satisfy the specific course prerequisites, which can be found in the Commerce Undergraduate Handbook.
The following courses are available:
Entry-level courses with minimum prerequisite requirements:
- Business Finance (FTX2020F) – This is an introductory course NOT for students intending to major in Finance. Students wanting to major in Finance should take FTX2024F/S below as a course entry requirement for further study.
- Financial Management (FTX2024F or FTX2024S)
Higher-level courses that require some prior exposure to finance, accounting, economics and statistics:
- Finance IIA (FTX3044F)
- Finance IIB (FTX3045S)
- Applied Corporate Finance (FTX4057F)
- Applied Investments (FTX4056S)
- Alternative Investments (FTX4086F)
International students who have no previous knowledge of Information Systems (IS) or Computer Science would first need to complete Information Systems 1 (INF1002F/S) before attempting any other IS courses.
Students with prior IS and accounting background may register for Information Technology in Business (INF2004F).
For students with suitable IS knowledge the following semester courses are popular choices:
- Commercial Programming (INF1003F)
- Business Intelligence and Analytics (INF2006F)
- Systems Analysis (INF2009F)
Other IS courses at 2nd and 3rd year level are intended for students following a 3-year IS major. Because of the close integration of course material and prerequisites consultation with a student advisor is needed prior to registration.
The School of Management Studies comprises several sections: Actuarial Science, Marketing, Organisational Psychology, Professional Communication, and Applied Management. We also offer Postgraduate Diplomas in Management (Entrepreneurship, Sport*, Marketing and Business Communication) * will not be offered in 2024.
The senior courses offered in the School require that students have prior knowledge and understanding of that and other areas, so it is therefore essential that international students wishing to enrol for a senior course (a course offered in second, third or fourth year) contact the Head of the appropriate section in order to determine whether they meet the prerequisites for that course.
With a few exceptions, international students may register for any of the introductory courses offered in Management Studies. The courses offered Actuarial Science, for instance, require strong mathematical abilities, so it makes sense that access to these courses would be more restricted.
There are, however, many courses offered on the Postgraduate Diplomas in Management that do not require prior knowledge or understanding of that subject area, and so these are always a popular choice for senior international students wishing to broaden their knowledge and experience.
Some of the courses offered by the School that need no prerequisites and have been popular with international students are:
- Evidence-Based Management (BUS1036F/S)
- Marketing I (BUS2010F/S)
- Introduction to Organisational Psychology (BUS1007S)
- Introduction to Strategy and Marketing (BUS1004F)
In addition to these courses, there are a few courses at 4th-year level that are available to senior students in their equivalent year at their home university. These courses (subject to availability of spaces and assessment of suitability) are:
- BUS4091F Organisation and Management
- BUS4103F Effective People Practice
- BUS4035F Introduction to Sport Management
- BUS4078F Entrepreneurial Strategies
In addition, there are several 4th-year level Marketing courses offered in 2nd semester that are available to students who have previously completed an introductory course in Marketing and who would like to deepen their knowledge and understanding in the more specialised aspects of Marketing.
If in doubt as to whether you meet the prerequisites for any of the Management Studies courses, contact the Head of the School.